Saying ‘yes’ to owning a second home comes naturally to many people, especially when they start considering turning those properties into investment opportunities. A lot of individuals have been buying property in Malta over the past decade, especially after the Malta citizenship by investment changes occurred, so that they can qualify under the Golden Visa scheme. Some have even started looking into owning Malta property due the incredible benefits they can attain.
Buying immovable property in Malta can be an extremely rewarding experience for property investors, and at times a life-changing decision. This guide walks you through the whole process and benefits of making your Malta property investment.
Some of the topics we’ll cover include:
- Where to buy Malta real estate?
- Malta’s property market: history and overview
- Step-by-step guide on how to buy property in Malta
- Process of buying property in Malta
Why Buy Malta Real Estate
Purchasing immovable property in Malta, whether commercial property or residential property, is a safe and secure investment. In fact, buying Malta real estate may be one of the best property transactions that you could do in Europe. Not to mention, the cost of living in Malta is incredibly low in comparison to the UK, USA, or other EU countries. This means if you’re planning on retiring in Malta, you’ll get to enjoy plenty of benefits.
Top Reasons to Invest in Malta
Where to Buy Malta Real Estate?
Malta consists of three inhabited islands – Malta, Gozo, and Comino. In those three islands, you’ll find modern apartments, historic houses, and more than a single residential property to satisfy your needs. Before you begin your property search, you’ll have to understand that where to buy real estate in Malta largely depends on your lifestyle preferences, and whether you prefer city life, or the countryside’s peace and quiet.
In general, you have two options for buying immovable property in Malta: either buy a property by itself, or under what is commonly referred to as the Malta Citizenship by Investment program – which is now more accurately a citizenship by naturalization scheme since the Malta citizenship by investment changes occurred. Non-Swiss, non-EEA, and non-EU citizens can qualify for citizenship by naturalization under this scheme, provided they place a substantial investment in Malta and adhere to the program’s requirements.
Best Cities to Buy Property
Some of the best real estate investment opportunities can be found in the best cities of Malta, outside of the capital city. Sliema, St. Julian’s, and Gzira have listings with incredible property values. These cities are renowned for having a wide range of restaurants, nightlife activities, shopping centers, as well as stunning seaside lookout points.
Valletta and Mdina are also good cities to buy homes in, as they boast beautiful architecture, a rich culture, and offer a more fast-paced lifestyle. If you’re more into a laidback country life, then either Zebbug, Rabat, or Gozo are good options where you can escape from the city noise and relax in a traditional village atmosphere.
Malta’s diverse property market means there is no shortage of property types for foreign buyers to choose from. Rest assured, you’ll be able to find everything on your property search, from apartments, maisonettes, villas, historic homes, and captivating older property, to terraced houses, bungalows, farmhouses, and modern listings with an incredible property price.
Today, much of the property purchased in the Republic of Malta has been snapped up by foreigners and decorated in retro style. In fact, Malta’s famous for its blend of traditional Maltese architecture with a modern twist.
Malta’s Property Market: History and Overview
The property market in Malta has been experiencing unprecedented growth these last few years. In the past decade, the Maltese real estate industry has enjoyed consecutive growth, both in the number of transactions and in overall volume of interest.
This growth is largely attributed to the number of international buyers moving to Malta, or buying property in Malta for the sake of qualifying for the Maltese Golden Visa. The rental market has also been equally successful, where owning rental property is not only considered as a lucrative business model, but an excellent route to yielding a high return on investment.
Purchasing property in Malta remains in demand within the Maltese islands, with home ownerships accounting for 80% of purchased properties. In fact, the Maltese government noticed a particular increase in demand for apartments in the last decade, both for residential purposes and as rental investments.
The Central Bank has attributed this growth in international interest to Malta’s residency and citizenship programs, and to the stamp duty exemption for first-time buyers as well.
At present, the asking prices for Malta real estate properties are usually around:
- €232,913 for a 1-bedroom studio
- €400,000+ for 3-bedroom apartments
- €549,118 for 3-bedroom duplexes
- €2,938,107 for a 4-bedroom villa
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Buy Property in Malta
Requirements for Buying Property
Non-residents can easily buy property in Malta, provided they obtain an Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit. A fee of €233 is charged per permit subject to change at the government’s discretion, with the permit usually being issued within 35 days.
An AIP permit is not needed to buy properties in ‘Special Designated Areas’ (SDAs), or in the case of EU citizens who:
- Have been residents in Malta continuously for five years
- Want to buy a primary residence to live in
- Want to purchase properties for rental investment purposes
Furthermore, foreign nationals and EU citizens who are considering buying property in Malta are only allowed to own one property in the main territories of the Republic, usually for owner-occupancy purposes. However, they are permitted to purchase more than one property in Malta’s ‘Special Designated Areas’.
Real Estate for Rent
Owning Maltese real estate for rental purposes is possible under certain conditions. Properties owned by foreigners can be rented out only if they are valued over €233,000 each, have a swimming pool, and are registered with the Hotel and Catering Establishments Board. Additionally, foreign-owned properties can only be rented out for short-term lease agreements.
Real Estate in ‘Special Designated Areas’
There are various luxury real estate listings for sale across the Republic. These luxury developments are built in prime locations across the Maltese islands, and come complete with porters, a reception area, pools, and parking facilities. The government of Malta continuously lists such qualifying real estate in ‘Special Designated Areas’ and as such, you aren’t subjected to any restrictions, nor do you need an AIP permit to purchase them. A key advantage of buying real estate in SDAs is that it gives you the same rights as a Maltese national, no matter if you’re an EU citizen or not.
The current Special Designated Areas are:
- Portomaso Development, St. Julians, Malta
- Tigné Point, Tigné, Malta
- Tas-Sellum Residence, Mellieha, Malta
- Madliena Village Complex, Malta
- SmartCity, Malta
- Fort Cambridge Zone, Tignè, Malta
- Ta’ Monita Residence, Marsascala, Malta
- Pendergardens, St. Julians, Malta
- Mercury Towers, St Julian’s, Malta
- St Angelo Mansions, Vittoriosa
- Vista Point, Marsalforn, Gozo
- Fort Chambray, Ghajnsielem, Gozo
- Kempinski Residences, San Lawrenz, Gozo
- Quad Business Towers, Mriehel, Malta
- Southridge, Mellieha, Malta
Taxes on Purchasing Property
Anyone buying property in Malta must pay some kind of tax on real estate they acquire. Purchasers usually pay a 5% stamp duty during the property transfer. 1% is paid on the promise of sale agreement, while the remaining 4% is paid during the final deed of the transfer. Note that for Maltese and EU citizens who were resident in Malta for a continuous 5 years, they are entitled to a reduction in the rate of stamp duty from 5% to 3.5% on the first €150,000 of the property acquisition fee.
Buying Property via Malta Citizenship by Naturalization Program
If you’re a foreign national thinking of relocating to Malta, there are a number of visa programs available to you. The Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment (CES) program, which is more accurately referred to as the Maltese Citizenship Act Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations, is one such example that provides qualifying investors with eligibility rights for the Malta passport, on the condition they make a substantial combination of investments in the nation, and comply with the program’s residency requirements.
The primary investor must make an exceptional direct investment of at least €600,000 or €750,000, depending on the residence period selected – 12 or 36 months, and must invest €700,000 in residential real estate, or enter into a rental agreement at a minimum value of €16,000 per annum which must be maintained for five years. Moreover, they must place a compulsory donation of at least €10,000 to a registered philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare, or artistic non-governmental approved organization or society in Malta.
Malta Passport Benefits
There are many advantages to having a Maltese passport, including financial and personal stability, global mobility, immediate access to the EU, and the right to work, live, and study anywhere in the European continent.
The tax system is also particularly advantageous to foreigners with a Maltese residential status. As such, individuals are not taxed on foreign-sourced capital gains or foreign-sourced income.
Real Estate Transaction Costs
- 5% stamp duty
- 1% to 3% notary fees
- €600 searches and registration fees
- €233 AIP permit fee (where applicable)
Process of Buying Property in Malta
1. Hire a notary and start your search
2. Obtain a promise of sale
3. Pay the deposit fee
4. Ensure your property has a legal title
5. Gather your finances
6. Sign the property transfer agreement
7. Get your keys
8. Clear taxes
Is Purchasing Property in Malta Worth it?
Malta has one of the strongest real estate markets in the world, ranking particularly highly in the European region. There are many advantages to buying property in Malta: fantastic weather, great government incentives for businesses, the chance to get EU citizenship, and more. As a small Mediterranean country, Malta has something to cater to everyone, from partygoers, to islanders, and entrepreneurs – Malta is the ideal place if you’re looking to invest in Europe.
Buying property in Malta has long proven itself a strong investment. Not only will you be able to yield high returns from your investment for decades to come, but if you choose to buy real estate under the Citizenship by Naturalization scheme, you and your immediate family members will have a chance at acquiring Maltese passports in as little as 12 to 36 months.
Property Specialists for Malta
If you’re considering buying property in Malta and need more information before you place your investment, you may speak to one of our real estate specialists to assist and guide you in your search for a prime property.
We are a boutique investment firm with years of experience delivering bespoke residence and citizenship-by-investment solutions for international families. At Global Citizen Solutions, we can simplify access to property investments, provide local insights, help with legal assistance, tax planning, and more — all while ensuring an efficient, personalized, and confidential service.
Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Property in Malta
How to buy real estate for sale in Malta and Gozo?
There are plenty of reputable real estate companies or property investment firms like Global Citizen Solutions that can assist you with your property sourcing and acquisition. Currently, there are a number of property developments in Gozo that offer reasonable investments, with an incredible selection of listings that may fit whatever budget you have.
What are my options to buy real estate in Malta?
You can find more than one lucrative real estate opportunity in Malta, and can either buy real estate by yourself, or through Malta’s Citizenship by Naturalization Program. If you choose the latter, you’ll need to make a real estate investment of at least €700,000, or enter into a rental agreement at a minimum value of €16,000 per annum, and meet other investment requirements.
What are the laws regarding rental property in Malta?
A new reform of rental leases for private residential properties launched in January 2020. The new law enables landlords to register their rental properties with the Housing Authority. In general, if you’re thinking of buying to let in Malta, it’s possible and can be profitable. Through property investment, one earns double the profit income in rent and capital growth.
What is the tax on buying property in Malta?
The tax on buying property in Malta varies depending on whether you’ve been living in Malta for five years prior to purchasing the property, and/or are an EU citizen. Usually, the stamp duty for the property acquisition is 5% with exceptions for EU citizens living in Malta.
How much is a property for sale in Malta with a pool?
Property for sale in Malta with a pool usually costs upwards of €500,000.
Where are prestige properties in Malta located?
There are many prestige properties in Malta. These are common in ‘Special Designated Areas’, and the added advantage is that you don’t need to get an AIP permit if you buy them. The reason these properties are prestigious is because they’re modern buildings with state-of-the-art facilities.
Do I need a Malta property specialist to buy property?
While you can buy property by yourself in Malta, it is highly recommended to consider hiring an estate agent or property specialist. They can walk you through a detailed analysis of the property market, what areas to consider buying property in, as well as help with acquisition, legal and tax affairs.
At Global Citizen Solutions, we’re experts in property investment and relocation solutions, and have helped hundreds of families acquire homes in Malta seamlessly. Contact us to discuss how we can best assist you.
Can foreigners buy property in Malta?
Absolutely. Foreign buyers can purchase Maltese property as private individuals, or as applicants to the Malta Citizenship by Naturalization scheme.
Is Malta real estate expensive?
Depending on whether or not you want to apply through the Malta Citizenship by Naturalization scheme, Malta real estate prices can vary, however they remain affordable.